At first, it’s a little disconcerting hanging out with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn at Dodger Stadium, in Los Angeles, watching a ballgame. Given what you know about them from their movies, you expect a few things. You expect Owen to act lazy, goofy and stoned-out, and Vince to be tossing off raised- eyebrow wisecracks, and girls to be gathered around, hoping for a ride home. Instead, after ordering two hot dogs, two bottles of water, two Cokes, nachos and a bag of peanuts, they turn to each other and start riffing in a Gauloise-smoking, grad-student kind of way, not a joke in sight.
“What exactly does the word ‘circa’ mean, do you think?” Vince says to Owen, apropos of nothing, really.
“It means ‘around,’ ” Owen says to Vince.
“Right. But what exactly does it mean?”
“It’s just a bullshit kind of thing to say to sound kind of smart. ‘Presupposes’ is another.”
” ‘Presupposes.’ ”
“And ‘Cite your sources.’ ”
” ‘Cite your sources.’ ”
Then Vince offers up an example of his own. ” ‘Parenthetically speaking.’ ”
” Oh, yeah,” says Owen, savoring the phrase. “That’s a good one.”
Briefly, both are silent. But then, suddenly, Vince erupts with another random query: “Who was the president of the Confederacy?”
Owen: “Jefferson Davis. Who wouldn’t know that?”
This is all very well and good, but it isn’t exactly what you want to hear from these two, especially since they’ve got a movie coming out called Wedding Crashers, about a pair of pickup artists who specialize in hooking up at weddings. Skip the history lesson. Let’s talk chicks. But that would be so crass, so expected. So, the conversation veers off in any number of different directions.
They both firmly deny that they, along with Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Owen’s actor-brother Luke, are part of some highly organized, tightknit, power-consolidating, new- order comedy mafia, as recently postulated by the thinking heads at the New York Times.
Getting back to the game, they both say that as kids they stunk at baseball.
“I just wasn’t any good,” Owen says, looking a bit down. “I’m afraid of the ball.”
Licking nacho goo off his fingers, Vince says, “On my team, they called me Eagle Eye. At first, I was excited, like, ‘Hey, Dad, they love my eye!’ And then, when I’m at bat, they tell me, ‘Come on, Eagle Eye. A walk’s as good as a hit.’ And then I sort of figure it out: ‘Hey, wait a minute. They’re not cheering me on to swing but to not swing!’ It wasn’t exactly flattering.”
Owen is about to add more of his two cents when out of the blue a dolled-up, exceedingly top-heavy brunette makes an appearance a few rows away. All talk of childhood traumas comes to an end.
Vince checks her out. “There’ll be no babies starving on her shift!” he says.
And suddenly all is right with the world again.
Owen Wilson is most often seen around L.A. wearing jeans and a T-shirt, chewing peppermint Altoids gum, maybe sitting on the lap of some Playboy Bunny or other, his blunted, twice-broken nose not holding him back any, flopsy- mopsy blond hair looking beach-boy-slacker perfect. On the Internet, Wilson watchers refer to him as “the Butterscotch Stallion,” for the color of his hair and his presumed wild, wild ways. It’s well known but bears repeating: He’s a writer as well as an actor, and with senior-year University of Texas roommate Wes Anderson has penned three great movies, Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and the Oscar-nominated Royal Tenenbaums, all of them featuring the roundabout loopy dialogue that suits him so well when he speaks it. His snappy flapping lip single-handedly saved Armageddon from being totally unwatchable, and he’s not a bad flyboy-hero-under-pressure, either (Behind Enemy Lines).
Vince Vaughn is staggeringly tall and pretty beefy, with a sometimes puffy-looking face and an odd penchant for wearing fatherly wingtip shoes. Whereas Wilson’s laugh is honk-honk-honk, Vaughn’s can be a nearly girlish squeal. His first major movie role, playing fast-talking semi- loutish Trent in 1996’s Swingers, made him an instant star, though in the movies that followed (way-serious acting roles in The Locusts, the dreadful Gus Van Sant remake of Psycho, The Cell, etc.) he lost his way, only to find it again starting in 2003, in comedies like Old School and then DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story. Nowadays he’s most often seen playing a softer, mellower version of his old Swingers self, a welcome sight.
In the past, Wilson has dated Sheryl Crow and, most recently, Argentine burlesque dancer Carolina Cerisola. Vaughn once dated Ashley Judd, Joey Lauren Adams and Janeane Garofalo. At the moment, however, neither is seeing anybody. They’re single, out there, on the loose, a couple of ladies’ men who are pleased to be free and, of course, free to be pleased, just like their characters in Wedding Crashers.
On the lush green grounds of the Getty Museum, in Los Angeles, Wilson is sitting in the shade, at a table, munching away on a Rice Krispie Treat, just hanging out and talking about some of his preferences in women. He is, he says, primarily an ass man. “It seems to me if a girl has a good ass, she has a good body,” he’s saying, “but I’d almost just as soon not have sex if you’re going to have to wear one of those, even though it’s hard to find the moral high ground when making that argument to a girl. Anyway, there are other ways.”
As it turns out, this overall general attitude of his recently made the news, in a half-blind item in the New York Post, as follows: “Which blond stud, nicknamed the ‘Butterscotch Stallion,’ has a perverse sexual bent? He recently picked up a girl at a wedding [!], and the two went back to his hotel room. When the woman asked if he had a condom, the actor replied, ‘I don’t want to have sex with you, but I do want to do something else’ — and proceeded to lick her buttocks for ‘over two hours.’ ”
OK, so Wilson’s real interest in butts is allegedly as objects to be licked. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, really, and Wilson probably isn’t, nor is he likely to be upset by his fling’s loose talk. It comes with the territory, and he’s got a sunny attitude about such things.
“It’s like, ‘Who cares?’ ” he says. “I play it as it lays. OK, so I may not be the greatest lover in the world. Well, let’s make that angle work. There’s lots of different paths to the waterfall. You don’t have to be Don Juan. And wasn’t it Gloria Steinem who said that women have to be responsible for their own orgasms? Well, I take her at her word. I’ll do my best, OK, but at a certain point you’ve got to, like, you know….”
(Excerpted from RS 979, July 28, 2005)
Owen & Vince are Hollywood’s reigning pranksters and most eligible bachelors